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Category Archives: Milestones



Anniversary: Charlton & Elsa- One decade, baby!

Ten years ago, my husband Chuck and I stood before family and friends and said our vows of marriage.

The celebration of such milestones is always a perfect opportunity to pause in our busy lives and sit in reflection. We promised to honor each others dreams, support each others personal growth and to “speak softly, listen deeply, laugh often, and comfort quickly”.   As I look back, I have an even better understanding of what we did that day. With our vows, we had committed to a kind of road map of how our life, our marriage and our relationship to each other would be. . and then we celebrated it (sangria and all!).

We pull out those same vows every anniversary and make those very promises to each other.  Every year, it means something different in relation to where we are in life, but it means something a little deeper every time.

As I look back on our wedding, I remember being moved by the overwhelming amount of love I felt from everyone around me and I remember feeling more beautiful than I had ever felt and I was so elated to be marrying THIS man, that I just floated through the day.  {That’s us below; photo by Winslow Studios}   Regular life may have less floating, but it’s true, real and good and we should seize every opportunity to celebrate it and its milestones. 

Many of you reading this may be in a very different place.  As I look back, you look forward,.  You are just beginning this journey.  But through it all, be it the planning, the day itself or the blessed, yet real life that follows, I hope that you speak softly, listen deeply and laugh often with each other.  I hope we get to have you here at The Woodlands to build your own memories to last a lifetime.  You too, will get to look back on those moments you made together, under the firs, surrounded by family and friends and celebrate what you did and how far you have come.  Even the small victories should be celebrated. . .like finding the dress that makes you feel spectacular, discovering the perfect location nestled in an enchanted forest 😉 or finally dropping all those invites in the mail! Celebrate!

One final note; this will be the first part of a new series I want to do on this blog.  As we are able, I will be gathering other photos, thoughts and stories for past weddings at The Woodlands and posting Happy Anniversary spots on other couples who have walked the Woodlands on their wedding day.  I hope you find inspiration in their perspectives.  So look for these and contact me if you have a story or memory to share.

A Woodlands Farrie-bell

There is no description of who I am or what we do that would ever be complete without mention of my daughter, Farris Victoria.  The ways that she expands my heart are boundless and her existence has changed the way I look at  life and weddings for that matter.  So please allow me to introduce you to my ‘baby angel’.


When a family arrives on the day of a Woodland bride’s wedding, I am often impacted by how quickly life ebbs and flows. I look at my 3 year-old little red-head just beginning to embrace the world and then the bride, a woman stepping beautifully into the next chapter of her life. Our bride’s parents must feel like their little girl has gone in the blink of an eye from a 3 year-old like mine (who picks dandelions for bouquets and tells me that she’s getting “maryied”) to a woman ready to walk down the aisle. 

I have never seen time move faster than when Farris came along.  She is my little forever-changing reminder of how life moves forward and each day is precious.

I hope many things for the brides that choose The Woodlands for their weddings.  I often remind myself that each beautiful bride that graces our doorstep is someone’s daughter, someone’s treasure, someone’s joy.  I find great joy in assisting with every mother’s daughter’s wedding, believing that the peace and happiness I plant now for others will eventually flower in my own life.  Someday I will be blessed to see my little peanut take that long aisle walk away from me to join what I am sure will be a wonderful man.  In the meantime I’ll treasure dandelion bouquets and the privilege of providing wonderful parents and brides the chance to celebrate their own milestones.

A June Montana Wedding for Chris and Charity

So now that I am blogging, I simply can’t help myself.  I must bring you snippets of a wedding that is so very close to my heart.  My one, my only, my most treasured little brother (little as in younger, since he is all of 6 foot) found a woman that is kind, funny, intelligent and special beyond words, and he proposed.

Now, for fun, allow me to give you a little background.  My brother (forgive me, Chris, for carrying on) is a rare species of man.  A true outdoors man, a fly fishing guide, a tango instructor and a guy that cooks a mean homemade pizza, he is special to me in ways that would take a lifetime to describe.  So when he called out of the blue to ask if he could bring up ‘a girl’ to tango in my great room, I was naturally intrigued.  About a year and a half later he called me to get together for coffee (If he had called for a beer; I would have thought nothing of it. But coffee? I knew it was something was about to go down).  Over coffee he told me that Charity was ‘the one’ (Hurray!), and shortly thereafter he planned a proposal in the very great room in which he had danced with her on their first date — complete with 300 candles and dancing to a song that would become their own.

Long story, ever-so-slightly shorter, Chris and Charity celebrated their June wedding at The Woodlands in true Montana style.  We woke up to snow that morning (honestly Montana!) but all that snow melted back into the earth by afternoon, and they said their vows under the grand Montana sky.  They were so relaxed and accepting of the weather that it never phased them.   The most powerful moment came just as they were saying their vows: a beaming ray of sunshine broke through the clouds to illuminate them as they made their commitments.

A fun taco bar featuring beef from Charity’s family ranch in Circle, MT kept the mood relaxed, and homemade apple pie and brownies were all made by relatives with love.  My dear friend and wedding photographer Morgan LaMare captured the chilly but beautiful day as their family and friends surrounded them in celebration. 

And they tangoed happily ever after.

P.S. Just for a laugh, take a look at the last picture.  My Grandma is plugging her ears since she thinks the band is too loud.